- US imposes harsher sanctions on Russia, EU to follow suit
- Sanctions to have "devastating consequeunces", says VTB boss
- ITV shares
surge on M&A hopes
techMARK 2,791.26 -0.58%
FTSE 100 6,739.98 -0.66%
FTSE 250 15,516.69 -0.54%
UK stocks pulled back sharply on Thursday morning as increased tensions between Russia and the West prompted investors to scale back positions following solid gains made the previous session.
After a 1.1% jump on the FTSE 100 to 6,784.67 on Wednesday, its highest close since July 7th, the index had fallen 0.7% to 6,740 by midday today.
Equities across Europe and US stock futures were all trading lower today on renewed geopolitical tensions after the US imposed new sanctions on Russia and European Union leaders agreed to take action. Russia's MICEX index was down nearly 3%.
US President Barack Obama said sanctions have been put on Russian banks such as Gazprombank, defence firms and energy companies including Rosneft, as part of fresh efforts to stop military action against Ukraine. Obama said that Russia must halt the flow of weapons into Ukraine, urge separatists to release hostages, and support a ceasefire.
Andrei Kostin, the head of Russia's second-largest bank VTB, was cited as saying that the sanctions could have "devastating consequences for the global financial system".
"The conflict remains very dangerous. With the new round of sanctions, the risk of a Russian recession rises further. Falling exports to Russia as well as the uncertainty caused by the conflict and the potential prospect of further sanctions will take a modest toll on European growth," said Analyst Holger Schmieding from Berenberg.
ITV jumps as Liberty Global buys stake
BSkyB has sold a 6.4% stake in UK rival ITV for £481m to Liberty Global, prompting shares in the UK broadcaster to jump this morning on speculation that the US firm could return with a bid for the whole company. However, Liberty has said that the deal was "an opportunistic and attractive investment" and confirmed it will not make an offer.
"Given recent Liberty Global M&A appetite, we see speculation of further M&A as almost inevitable mid-term implying ITV shares are likely to be valued more on a take-over basis," said analysts at Investec this morning.
Land Securities erased gains but was still higher after hailing a solid start to the year, with strong leasing momentum in office buildings and a continuing reshaping of its retail portfolio.
Sportswear retailer Sports Direct beat consensus estimates with a 15% jump in annual underlying operating profits. However, the stock sank into the red as the company said that recent strong trading was offset by England's disappointing performance at the World Cup.
Electricity generator and retailer SSE forecast higher earnings in 2014/15 but shares slipped as it warned that it would be harder to lift profits again the year after.
Meanwhile, beverage cans maker Rexam was hit with a downgrade by Deutsche Bank to 'neutral' and Diageo was lower after JPMorgan Cazenove cut its rating for the drinks group to 'underweight'.
FTSE 100 - Risers
ITV (ITV) 198.60p +8.05%
Imperial Tobacco Group (IMT) 2,686.00p +2.13%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 902.50p +1.18%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,748.00p +1.03%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 897.50p +0.84%
Reed Elsevier (REL) 940.50p +0.70%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,530.50p +0.63%
Shire Plc (SHP) 4,808.00p +0.46%
Unilever (ULVR) 2,652.00p +0.42%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 456.80p +0.40%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Rexam (REX) 521.50p -2.80%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,131.00p -2.67%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 695.50p -2.52%
Barclays (BARC) 211.05p -2.29%
Royal Mail (RMG) 470.20p -1.94%
Capita (CPI) 1,126.00p -1.92%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,037.00p -1.89%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,535.00p -1.85%
GKN (GKN) 353.60p -1.70%
St James's Place (STJ) 752.00p -1.70%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Pets at Home Group (PETS) 185.00p +5.47%
Big Yellow Group (BYG) 518.00p +3.60%
Genus (GNS) 1,097.00p +2.14%
Paragon Group Of Companies (PAG) 331.70p +2.06%
De La Rue (DLAR) 773.50p +1.64%
Renishaw (RSW) 1,579.00p +1.61%
Rotork (ROR) 2,666.00p +1.41%
Workspace Group (WKP) 602.50p +1.35%
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 719.00p +1.34%
Informa (INF) 490.80p +1.13%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 308.60p -3.50%
Supergroup (SGP) 1,083.00p -3.22%
Polymetal International (POLY) 543.00p -2.69%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 158.00p -2.65%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 139.30p -2.59%
Exova Group (EXO) 233.30p -2.43%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 123.30p -2.30%
Evraz (EVR) 100.30p -2.24%
AO World (AO.) 238.90p -2.05%
Investec (INVP) 525.00p -2.05%